Next Step for Assad — Exile to a Rump State?

“A Syrian official called an attack Sunday on the nation’s military research facility a ‘declaration of war’ by Israel,'” reports CNN. In an interview with CNN, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad said the attack represented an...
Israel’s Pointless Attack on Syria

Israel’s Pointless Attack on Syria

Israel’s recent air strike on one of Syria’s premier military research centers came as no surprise to those monitoring the spiraling turn of events in the Levant over the last few months. After all, in the days and weeks running up to the audacious attack,...
Harirism Exposed

Harirism Exposed

Saad Hariri—the Saudi-born son of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri—has been on something of a speaking tour lately. The billionaire former prime minister has repeatedly tried to make the case that Lebanon’s incumbent government has put...
Hezbollah Hedges Its Bets on Assad

Hezbollah Hedges Its Bets on Assad

When the Arab Awakening began last year, Hezbollah’s leadership expressed solidarity with revolutionary movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. However, this support was not extended to those demanding political reform in neighboring Syria. This...

Supporting Assad Shreds Iran’s Credibility With Radical Islam

Despite being the director of research at the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and head of its Iran Security Initiative, Patrick Clawson, as I posted Saturday, urges the West to go slow in a recent WINEP Policy Note, An Iranian Nuclear...

Bad Pizza . . . and Even Worse Intelligence

“Mishap.” “Sloppy.” “Blunders.” “A Pizza Hut in Beirut.” Not necessarily words one expects to see all together in an international affairs news story about American spies. But this is the CIA we’re talking about....
How Lebanon Got So Complicated

How Lebanon Got So Complicated

(Pictured: Colonel Wissam Hassan, head of Lebanese intelligence.) Viewed through the prism of the American mainstream media, Lebanon always appears a place that best defines the term Byzantine: a bewildering mélange of different religions, rival militias, cagey...
The Case for Syria

The Case for Syria

(Pictured: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.) Below we present an excerpt from an article at Foreign Policy in Focus’s sister publication Right Web. In late December, with Congress away on recess, Robert Ford was appointed the new U.S. ambassador to Syria,...
The Power of Political Islam

The Power of Political Islam

Since 9/11, political Islam has built itself into an extremely viable force in the Middle East. In an area where autocracy reigns supreme, political Islam has become the de facto opposition movement for millions who wish to change, democratize, and improve their...
The Lebanon Border: “Uniquely” Dangerous

The Lebanon Border: “Uniquely” Dangerous

While the Middle East—indeed, the world—is riveted by the ongoing crisis around Iran’s nuclear program, the most immediate danger of a war may be on Israel’s border with Lebanon: “Exceptionally quiet and uniquely dangerous” was how...

On the Brink of Peace in the Middle East?

Over the past half decade a broad consensus has emerged among informed observers in the Middle East that recent U.S. policies in the region – from Iraq and Iran to our approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah – have been...

Lebanon Intrusion

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. military intervention in Lebanon, and 25 years after a second U.S. military intervention which left hundreds of Americans and thousands of Lebanese dead, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a...

U.S. Role in Lebanon Debacle

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continues to resist pressure that he resign following the publication late last month of the interim report by a special Israeli commission on Israel’s war on Lebanon last summer. Military chief Dan Halutz has already been...